There ain’t no doubt about it, Tim Teichgraeber (left) is one of the coolest wine writers we know.
Not only does this dude write a weekly column about wine for his hometown paper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, he’s also a San Francisco-based entertainment lawyer who works with some of the top names in the music industry today.
We recently came across the article below, published in the Minneapolis City Pages 2010 Wine & Dine Guide, where Tim talks about the recent Greek wine renaissance and asks his readers, “who really needs another imported Chardonnay?
Rock on, Tim!
Not your Mama’s Retsina: The Greek Wine Renaissance
By Tim Teichgraeber
Minneapolis City Pages 2010 Wine & Dine Guide
Before touring Greece this year, I knew I had a lot to learn. Like Italy, Greece boasts one of the oldest wine culture of the world and has a slew of indigenous grape varieties that are unfamiliar to most Americans. My experience with Greek wines was modest, even after 20 years in the business. I did know that Greek wines were beginning to gain respect in critical circles, and I wanted to see why.
A new generation of Greek winemakers, in their late 30s and 40s, mostly educated in France, has taken the reins in Greece. They’re making extraordinary and unique wines from local grapes, sometimes blended with international varieties, and they’re teaching the next generation of Greek winemakers what they have learned abroad.
The most impressive regions to me were Nemea, where the hearty, complex Agiorgitiko or “Saint George” grape makes deep, age-worthy reds, and the island of Santorini, which makes crisp, high-acid white wines from Assyrtiko grapes that gain complexity with age.
The best Greek wines aren’t cheap. They mostly cost between $15 and $25 a bottle, and they’re not made from easy-to-spell or easy-to-pronounce grapes. What they are, though, is different, and interesting, and in the best cases, world-class delicious.
Thanks mostly to adventurous sommeliers and Greek-American importers, Greece’s best wines are finding their way to American shores. It may be a little while before Americans learn to pronounce Agiorgitiko correctly (ay-yor-YEE-tee-koh), but who really needs another imported Chardonnay?
2008 Boutari [Santorini] Assyrtiko, Santorini
A nice value from the beautiful volcanic island of Santorini. Boutari is one of Greece’s largest wineries, but it delivers good consistency at a reasonable price. This is a bracing, high-acid white wine ideal for seafood, with mouth-watering lemon zest, green apple, and mineral flavors.
2009 Boutari Moschofilero, Mantinia, Greece
One of the great Greek success stories in the last decade, the unique flavor profile of Greece’s indigenous Moschofilero (mo-sko-FEEL-ero) grape has replaced piney Retsina in the American market. It’s an incredibly aromatic, floral white wine with juicy peach, honey-suckle, and citrus flavors. The highlands of Mantinia in the Peloponnese produce Greece’s most refined Moschofilero.